How to make an Airlock Cap


This was the start of my first airlock cap attempt.

I new that I was not satisfied with our fermenting set up.  Not the antique 2 gallon crock nor the one gallon glass jar with glass lid.  The mold and scum, while expected, was not acceptable.  Internet research had turned up fermenting systems that used an airlock but I was unwilling to spend what they where asking.  So we set out to make our own airlock system.

I started by buying a half dozen, half gallon, wide mouth, Ball mason jars.   3capsThen I found a local beer making supply house that sold airlocks.   So my first airlocks where constructed using the standard wide mouth two piece canning lids,  a couple of varieties of airlocks and some tight fitting o-rings to seal the airlock to the lids.   I also used one piece metal lids saved from grocery store products that fit standard Ball canning jars.

From these first tries I found that the o-rings did not seal well enough by themselves.  And the 2 piece canning lids where not convenient to use during fermentation.   All the metal lids tended to develop rust spots after repeated usage.   And the one piece “S” shape airlocks where too difficult to clean.



That brings me to my present, and very acceptable, airlock cap system.   The o-rings have been replaced with 100% silicone sealant.   This needs to be food grade silicone,  no kitchen and bathroom silicones with mildewcides.   Most, easily found, aquarium 100% silicone sealants are food grade.  But check the ingredient list.


ballcapThen there was the rusty metal lids.  These have been replaced with plastic lids made by Ball.

They come in wide mouth and standard mouth sizes.  I found them at my local grocery store along with the other canning supplies for about $3 per box of 8 caps.   These are also very handy to use to cap the fermentation jars after they are done fermenting and need to be stored in the refrigerator.  If not found locally, they are available on EBay.

airlockAnd for the airlock itself, I have settled on the 3 piece design made by Buon Vino Mfg.- Canada.   It is inexpensive and the unit comes apart for cleaning.   These cylinder airlock units are carried by most beer and wine making supply stores.   I have also seen them for sale on EBay, just search for “airlock”.   Locally they cost me $1 each.




The actual construction of the cap system involves drilling a hole in the center of the plastic cap.  The three piece airlock shaft has a slight tapper, so the hole is sized such that the airlock fits snuggly when inserted to a depth of about half an inch.


A bead of silicone is then applied around the shaft both on top of the cap and then on the underside as well.   Wait a couple of days for the silicone to completely cure before using the cap.

And that is the airlock cap design I am presently using.

Future design changes:  grommetMy next version will incorporate a grommet seal instead of the silicone sealant.   I hadn’t already gone this route because of the cost of the grommets in small quantities and the fact that I could not find the correct size locally.   I’ll post pictures when that design change is made, but until then I’m satisfied with the performance of my current airlock caps.


Final design upgrade using rubber grommet.


 I just made my final design change incorporating a rubber grommet to hold and seal the air-lock into the plastic cap.  Picture shows completed design with an extra grommet on edge. 

Found an online site that sells them in small quantities for a reasonable price.

Love this design.


Teff Date Nut Coffee Quick Bread

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teff date nut coffee quick bread photo by vsimon

Is this temping or what?

I like to play with my food, and new ingredients. There was a bag of teff flour in the freezer, calling me.

There were a couple of ideas floating around in my head. And I searched online for other ideas. There aren’t many recipes online for teff. Maybe because teff is hard to find, it is expensive, and it is brown.

Yes, the flour is beautifully brown. I hear there is an ivory variety, but not at my store. Still, it is a highly nutritious gluten free whole grain. And it tastes good. Learn more about teff, seeds and flour, here.

Most often I use it for simple pancakes. Just teff flour, no mixtures. And the pancakes are brown. I think they are lovely, but some folks will object to the color.

I easily converted a wheat based date bread recipe from allrecipes. This uses just teff flour. Who wants to mix 15, or even three gluten free flours together?

And starches? Forget about it! They are as devoid of nutrition as sugar, so you won’t find them here. Also, there is only half as much sugar as the original recipe. The dates make it plenty sweet, I didn’t want a tooth ache.

Adding xanthan is a must. Using 3 mini tins instead of a regular loaf pan helps too.

The final dish must still taste great, have normal texture, and look inviting. This recipe does it all.

Teff Date Nut Coffee Quick Bread

yield 3 mini loaves

1 cup chopped dates

1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

1 cup very hot water

1 1/2 cups teff

1 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon xanthan

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup oil

1 egg, beaten

Warm oven to 350 degrees.

Oil 3 mini loaf pans and put on a rimmed sheet pan for easy movement in and out of the oven.

In a small bowl: mix dates, coffee powder, and water. Set aside while dates plump and the mixture cools a bit.

In a big bowl: mix teff flour, pecans, sugar, xanthan, salt, and soda. Mix thoroughly so there are no clumps of xanthan or soda. Pinch any little clumps of soda with your fingers to break them up.

Add oil and beaten egg to the liquid date mixture. Stir it up well.

Add liquid date mixture to flour mixture. Stir to combine thoroughly. Allow mixture to rest for about 5 minutes so the xanthan can hydrate.

Equally divide batter into 3 mini pans.

Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Completely cool before cutting.

These freeze beautifully, very nice for make ahead gluten free gifts.

Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Or, if you must, chance warming in the microwave to thaw. Sans any metal tins of course.


You may like our Chocolate Angel Food Cake, also made with 100% teff flour. See that posting here.

There is a tasty gingerbread recipe by Jacqueline Mallorca here. Scroll way to the end. I made it in a 9” round pan for prettier presentation. And topped it with whipped cream and diced candied ginger.


This post was submitted to the January 2011 edition of Go Ahead Honey, It Is Gluten Free. Hosted by the amazing Lauren at Celiac Teen.

Almond and Lemon Cake

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Almond and Lemon Cake photo by vsimon

Easy, tasty, lemony, beautiful. The texture is a perfect moist cake crumb. It is gluten free and dairy free. This is a good recipe to have in your back pocket.

It is Jacqueline Mallorca’s recipe, reprinted here with permission. Yes, the Jacqueline Mallorca who writes wonderful gluten free cookbooks. Notably the The Wheat-Free Cook  Gluten-Free Recipes for Everyone and Gluten-Free Italian  Over 150 Irresistible Recipes Without Wheat- from Crostini to Tiramisu.

She also has a website, Gluten Free Expert and blog with more helpful info.

While searching for other things, I found this recipe at the end of an article from the San Francisco Chronicle printed in 2005. It deserves to be brought to light again.

I made this just as written, though I used the zest of the whole lemon. I love fresh lemon.

Supposedly, the glaze is optional. You can simply dust the cake with powdered sugar if you prefer. With the zest of a whole lemon, the cake is only mildly lemon flavored without the glaze. The glaze packs a tangy lemon punch, even without the lemon oil. The glaze isn’t optional to me, and it is so pretty.

This cake could also be made with orange or lime instead of lemon. To my taste buds, orange zest is easy to over do though. I would measure this and use at only a teaspoon, or a tablespoon max. I wouldn’t use the zest of the whole orange. Lime? I love that too, and would add that zest with abandon.

The instructions were very easy to follow. But I never got to the “ribbon stage” beating the eggs. Using a hand held mixer, I beat the eggs by themselves for about 5 minutes. They thickened, increased in volume, and got pale. Then I added the sugar and beat about another 8 minutes. They thickened some more, got paler, and increased in volume again, to at least four times the original size of the whole eggs. But not thick enough to produce ribbons of fluffy egg mixture dripping from the beaters.

Still, it was enough. The recipe worked, and we enjoyed this cake immensely. I shared it with a non gluten-free friend, who shared it with another non gluten-free friend. It is that good.

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Almond & Lemon Cake (Torta di Noce) by Jacqueline Mallorca


The Cake

2 cups almond meal

2 tablespoons brown rice flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

4 large eggs

3/4 cup sugar

Grated zest of 1/2 lemon

The Glaze (optional)

1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar

2-3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 drops pure lemon oil (optional)


To make the cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Butter the sides of a 9-inch round cake pan and line the base with a circle of baking parchment.

In a bowl, combine the almond meal, rice flour and baking powder and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs until they thicken. Slowly add the sugar and beat about 5 minutes until the egg mixture reaches the thick-ribbon stage. Sprinkle the lemon zest on top.

Fold one-third of the almond mixture into the eggs at a time; transfer the batter to the pan.

Bake until the cake is golden and shrinks away slightly from the edge of the pan, and an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Run a knife blade around the edge of the cake to loosen it, turn it out onto a wire rack, and peel off the baking parchment. Let cool with the smooth underside facing up.

To make the optional glaze: Place the cake on a sheet of foil. Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a bowl. Add the lemon juice and lemon oil, and beat until smooth. Pour over the cake and smooth into a very thin layer with a long knife blade, letting excess drip over the sides. Smooth the glaze on the sides. Let the cake stand until the glaze has set; then transfer to a serving plate.

Serves 10

PER SERVING (WITHOUT GLAZE): 215 calories, 7 g protein, 21 g carbohydrate, 13 g fat (1 g saturated), 85 mg cholesterol, 50 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.


Please let us know if you make this with other citrus flavors. I am curious about the possibility of a lime and coconut flour combo too.